(August 23, 1906 — Jan. 20, 2001) / (March 9, 1907 — November 6, 2006)
Samuel and Louise Hamilton were united in their devotion to Iowa State University, demonstrated when Sam took an active role in forming the ISU Foundation and leading its first big project – planning and construction of the Iowa State Center and later, the now-named Jack Trice Stadium.
Samuel C. Hamilton was born August 23, 1906 in Trenton, MO. He entered Iowa State in the fall of 1924. As an undergraduate, he participated in football and track and, among other activities, was elected to Scabbard & Blade, the military honorary and to the Knights of St. Patrick, the engineering activities honorary.
He graduated with a BS in Civil Engineering in 1929. He had taken a temporary leave from a job at the Chicago Bridge & Iron Company to complete his degree and returned to that company for a life-long career. Over time, he rose through the ranks to become manager of sales worldwide and by 1964, was Senior Vice-President for Financial Affairs, overseeing the cash flow of C.B.I. in the US and in 65 nations throughout the world. He retired in 1971.
In addition to his busy schedule at C.B.I., Hamilton was active in his church, the Chamber of Commerce, Boy Scouts, Rotary and many professional organizations related to his work.
He was active in ISU alumni groups in Houston and Chicago and was a founder/charter member of the ISU Foundation, serving on its Board of Governors. Starting in 1963, he stepped into the role of board president. In 1965, he received the Alumni Recognition Medal for his outstanding efforts and in 1966, he was the Grand Marshal of that year’s VEISHEA parade.
In 1970, he was awarded the prestigious Marston Medal in recognition of pre-eminent service in the engineering profession.
His citation read, “As a recognized authority in the field of steel plate construction, Mr. Hamilton has been a major contributor to the design and erection of chemical and petroleum plants throughout the world. As a high executive of a large steel construction company, he had guided the destinies of a major unit of our nation’s industry. As a citizen, he has served his community, his church and his alma mater in positions of high responsibility and trust. Pre-eminent in every walk of life, Sam Hamilton is a most worthy recipient of the Marston Medal.”
In 1973, he was named “Cy’s Favorite Alum” for his involvement with the planning and development of the Iowa State Center and the nearby football stadium. He also spearheaded the restoration of the Marston Water Tower and its placement on the National Register of Historic Places.
When he received the Alumni Recognition Medal in 1965, he was asked to present remarks on behalf of all alumni award recipients. His comments were heartfelt and when he re-discovered the text in 1997, he found that his feelings had not changed.
They read, in part, “It is worth a wonder, why do people give of themselves, take such as interest in their fellow man and his needs, and create a better and happier life – in short – to serve others. I suggest there is always a teacher in the background who showed a personal interest and who inspired a greater effort toward the achievement of a higher standard of excellence. [After my graduation ceremony in March 1929] I walked alone across campus. I felt that I was drawing a curtain on a well-disciplined experience and a wonderful period struggling to achieve a goal now realized.
“As I thought of the future and the uncharted path ahead, I had no fear, but there was an uncertain wondering… just how good was the preparation for meeting life’s problems? What would be the rewards and disappointments? Now, many years have passed and I am convinced that there have been many degrees conferred here that were never printed on sheepskin… they were received without ceremony… but they were implanted by those great hymns that poured from the bells each morning and evening, reminding all within hearing of the central truth for mankind. They were implanted by a faculty dedicated to a high degree of technical excellence, morality, social responsibility and discipline. All these, with a deep interest in the individual student.
“And now, how well have these lessons been instinctively practiced by the many who enjoyed this scene. The many nominations for these honors and awards speak loudly the answer and we who receive them today are but their representatives.”
Samuel C. Hamilton died in Austin, Texas, on Jan. 20, 2001 at age 95.
Sam married Louise Moen from Mason City, IA. She was born March 9, 1907, in Calmer, Iowa. Her father emigrated from Norway as an infant and her mother was a first generation descendent of Norwegian immigrants. Growing up, she experienced the pre-electric, pre-indoor plumbing lifestyle of early America.
Her family moved to Mason City in 1919. After graduation from Mason City High School, Louise attended Mason City Junior College for two years, was book keeper for her father's contracting business for two years, then attended Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, where she received a Bachelor's Degree in Home Economics in 1930.
It was at Iowa State University she met her future husband, Samuel C. Hamilton. They were married in October of 1930 when she began an “itinerant” lifestyle, moving many times as her husband advanced in his career and after his retirement. Louise was an active partner in and supporter of Sam’s many endeavors. They had three sons. In October 2000 Louise and Sam celebrated their seventieth wedding anniversary.
Louise was known for her zest for life and wonderful sense of humor. She had keen interests in music, languages, reading and the travels that took her to many parts of the world. With her husband, she was a lifelong, dedicated supporter of Iowa State University.
Louise M. Hamilton died in Austin, TX on November 6, 2006 at age 99.
Information gathered from materials in ISU Special Collections; edited by Katherine Svec
Samuel C. Hamilton obituary at findagrave.com
Louise Hamilton obituary from statesman.com/Corley–Fish Funeral Home